The 15th Finance Commission led by N K Singh today outlined measures to further improve railways productivity, including monetising assets and rationalisation of fares for a realistic medium-term revenue and expenditure projections.
In a meeting with Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal, Railway Board Chairman and other officials today, the commission held discussions on medium-term programme to improve capital expenditure in various initiatives like speed up electrification, doubling of track, modernising the signals and technical upgrading.
“The Commission … highlighted other measures to further improve the productivity like monetising assets in multiple forums, speeding up pace of projects under implementation, long term need for rationalisation of portfolios and fares for a realistic medium term revenue and expenditure projections,” an official statement said.
This was critical for enabling the commission to take a view of Railway Finances and its overall draft on Central Finances between 2020 and 2025, the period to be covered by the current Finance Commission, it added.
During the meeting, railways officials highlighted recent measures to improve passenger comfort, strengthen infrastructure, increasing speed, reduce idling time.
“The minister highlighted that Railways is conscious of its dual responsibilities, both in social and economic spheres while seeking commercial viability,” the statement said.
He also said that the Railways is undergoing transformation in thinking and its operations by using its resources more effectively and ‘Safety First’ is the motto of railways.
The 15th Finance Commission is in the process of assessing finances of both Union government ministries and state finances. Led by Singh, other members of the Commission are Shaktikanta Das, Anoop Singh, Ashok Lahiri and Ramesh Chand.